Batman The Brave and the Bold – Season 2

  • Series Title:  Batman the Brave and the Bold
  • Season:  2
  • Episodes:  25
  • Discs:  2 (Blu-Ray)
  • Cast:  Diedrich Bader
  • Original Network:  Cartoon Network
  • Production Network:  Warner Brothers (Animation)

The second season of Batman:  The Brave and the Bold was extremely uneven. There were some very high points and some very low points, and some episodes could have been great but they just fell flat. Again, the series is a team-up show, however, rather than having the shorts, followed by the main story – several of the shorts in the first half of the season feature Starro – the psychic starfish from outer space. Starro also gets his own 2-part story at mid-season. The Starro story did work, though it wasn’t quite as effective or as psychologically scary as the character’s appearances in Justice League Unlimited or Young Justice (as Starro-Tech). I kept wondering where Superman was – because there’s nothing scarier that Supes being controlled by an outside force of evil. Still, considering how much lighter in general Batman:  The Brave and the Bold is as a series, the two-part story did work, and the League’s eventual win against Starro did come at a cost.

“Chill of the Night” was not only my favorite story for this season, but, so far, for all of BtBatB. It was just awesome. First (other than the short) it felt like a Batman: The Animated Series episode – not only does it show That Fateful Night (which, yes, we’ve seen before) and had red skies and dark background, like B:TAS – but Phantom Stranger and Spectre – the spirits of Justice and Vengeance (respectively) were played by Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill. These two spirits were fighting over Batman’s soul (it was very, um, is existential the right word?). AND to top it off, in the flashbacks Thomas Wayne was voiced by Adam West and Martha Wayne by Julie Newmar. Yeah. Nothing like three generations of Batman in one. Color me impressed.

“A Bat Divided” felt very much like a similar episode of Farscape, where Moya (the living ship), was split three ways – each having it’s own effects on the crew. The episode featured Firestorm, and Batman is split in to three Batmen – Action/Battle Batman, Scientist Batman, and Loafing/relaxing Batman.  I liked it.

“The Super-Batman of Planet X” has Batman sucked through a wormhole in space to a planet where he has Superman-like powers. To Batman’s credit, it doesn’t go to his head, and he helps that planet’s version of Batman, until he can find a way home. The only problem with the episode, is it highlights one major problem of BtBatB which is Batman is completely alone – no Alfred and seldom any Robin/Nightwing. Guy Gardner has to rescue Batman, after putting him in danger in the first place.

“The Knights of Tomorrow” I also liked. Told from the point-of-view of an unseen narrator, who turns out to be Alfred (in only one of two appearances – the other is “Chill of the Night”), and shows the Mantle of the Bat being passed from generation to generation. Bruce Wayne eventually retires from being Batman and marries Selina Kyle. He turns the cape and cowl over to Dick Greyson. Meanwhile, Bruce and Selina have a son, Damien, whom they train in self-defense and fighting. When Bruce and Selina are killed – Damien joins Dick as Robin, and eventually grows up to be Batman, with his own Robin. This does play a bit with established continuity, for example, in the universe where Bruce and Selina retired and married – they had a daughter, Helena (who become Huntress) not a son. Damien Wayne, is the son of Bruce and Talia Al-Ghul. And the story skips Jason and Tim altogether, as well as cutting out one of my favorite characters – Terry McGinnis (truly, watch Batman Beyond, it’s awesome!) Terry’s a lot like Dick – whom I’ve always liked. The one bit I found almost frightening was Alfred repeating Amanda Waller’s line, “There must always be a Batman.”

“The Masks of Matches Malone” is the story which features the Birds of Prey singing, “No One Does It Better (Than the Birds of Prey)” which is simply marvelous. The story itself is a bit weak – Batman goes undercover as Matches Malone, and gets hit on the head and thinks he really is Matches Malone – a gangster and thief. The Birds of Prey are left to stop crime in Gotham, and to try to get Batman back to his own self. It’s fun, and the video is definitely awesome. You can watch the music number here.

On the negative side – two more Batmite storys (ugg), “Cry Freedom Fighters” which was just dreadful, and just several so-so, not terrible, but not bad stories.

Batman the Brave and the Bold: Season 1

  • Series Title:  Batman the Brave and the Bold
  • Season:  1
  • Episodes:  26
  • Discs:  2 (Blu-Ray)
  • Cast:  Diedrich Bader
  • Original Network:  Cartoon Network
  • Production Network:  Warner Brothers (Animation)

I originally dismissed The Brave and the Bold when I saw an episode here and there on Cartoon Network. The production design reminded me very much of the 1960s Batman (starring Adam West) and the attitude of the show seemed extremely campy and silly, and I’m just not a fan of silly Batman.

However, I have a friend who basically nagged me to give this show a chance, so I finally purchased Season 1, and on Blu-Ray no less. It a way, it is nuts – very campy, and funny, but it’s to the point of such ridiculousness at times that it actually becomes very enjoyable to watch. If modern animated or even live-action Batmans are too much for you, give this series a try. The series is pretty much set in DC’s Silver Age (thus the campy style of Batman) but occasionally features heroes from the Golden Age (Jay Garrick’s Flash) and the Modern Age (Jaime Reyes’ Blue Beetle). Most of the episodes consist of two stories, a short piece with Batman and another hero teaming up against a villain, followed by a different unconnected story of Batman and a different hero teaming-up against a different villain.  Because the focus is on team-ups, we get to see several different characters from DC’s Silver Age, which one seldom sees in a TV Series or film.

Some notable episodes:

In “Invasion of the Secret Santas”, Batman and Red Tornado go up against Fun Haus, who’s brought flying saucers from a B Movie to life, as well as evil Santas, and other oddities. The story is very silly, which makes it fun.

in “Day of the Dark Knight!” Batman and Green Arrow, who are revealed to be competitive rivals, are brought back in time to Camelot by Merlin. One of them must take Excalibur from the Stone to defeat Morgaine, who has the demon, Etrigan under her power. Yes – this is as fun as you might expect. The opening sequence has Batman and Guy Gardner (Green Lantern) on Oa on jail duty.

“Dawn of the Dead Man” proper starts with Batman being buried alive by Gentleman Ghost. He astro projects himself to London, where he meets a ghost who will become the hero, Dead Man. Dead Man works with Green Arrow and Speedy to rescue the Caped Crusader. I loved this story, from a nearly dying Batman seeing his parents in a tunnel of light, to the whole tracing of Dead Man’s story (which also has a connection to Haly’s Circus), it’s actually just a great story.

In “Fall of the Blue Beetle”, there isn’t the standard stand-alone opening, rather the opening with Batman and Silver Age Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) proves to be a prelude to an adventure between Batman and Modern Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes) who wishes to learn more about how he became a superhero and where his scarab came from – Jaime journeys to Science Island, Ted Kord’s secret base and meets “Ted Kord” – yet it isn’t Ted, it’s his evil brother Jarvis, who had caused the explosion that killed Ted. This is a brilliant back story piece, and the animation is actually very good.

In “Trials of the Demon” Batman is transported back in time to 19th century London, where he meets Sherlock Holmes and Watson, as well as Jason Blood (Etrigan the Demon), who’s been unjustly accused of murdering a series of women. The world’s two greatest detectives work together to clear Jason Blood, and discover the real culprit:  Jim Craddock. This serves as an excellent back story piece for the Gentleman Ghost. Batman is also upset that he can’t change history.  This story also features in the opening bit Batman and the Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick, taking on Scarecrow and Scream Queen.

“Mayhem of the Music Meister!” has no opening story – instead the Music Meister has a dastardly plot to turn the whole world into a Broadway Musical – both villains (Black Manta, Gorilla Grodd, Clock King) and heroes (Batman, Aquaman, Black Canary, Green Arrow). So yes, and all-singing, all-dancing episode of Batman the Brave and the Bold is just as much fun as you might think. Music Meister is voiced (and sung) by Neil Patrick Harris, who even gets a “special guest villain” credit.

I can honestly say that I enjoyed Batman the Brave and the Bold, and I’ve ordered Season 2. The show is fun, and light, and at times it’s so out-there it’s basically crack-fic. And, though I must say, I still prefer more serious versions of Batman, this series, obviously in it’s own pocket universe of silliness, is fun and enjoyable to watch – and I don’t regret purchasing the Blu-Rays. By the way, when I bought the series from Amazon, the Blu-Rays were a better deal than the DVDs.